World Class Fishing in Northeastern Ontario

Gord Pyzer relives favorite fishing memories

Playing word association can be fun – someone mentions a name and you say the first thing that pops into your head – except when it's not one thing that springs to mind, but rather a plethora of possibilities.

For example, mention Northeastern Ontario and I am flooded with fishing memories.

Case in point: I caught my personal best northern pike a few years ago while casting in world renowned Kesagami Lake in the stunning Hudson Bay Lowlands.  I knew I had hooked a monster when I watched my rod double over, but I had no idea how big the toothy critter was until I brought it alongside the boat.  My eyes almost popped out of my head, it was so huge.

Photo: Gord Pyzer.

But I shouldn't have been surprised.

Forty years earlier, when I was a youngster, my family enjoyed the fishing vacation of a lifetime, at a resort located on the north shore of Lake Nipissing where we fished for walleye, northern pike and jumbo yellow perch. I'll never forget hooking fish after fish and struggling to reel them in.  My most vivid and fondest memory of that trip was begging my dad to take my rod, because I was certain the huge fish were going to pull me out of the boat and into the lake.

Photo: Gord Pyzer.

And talking about walleye – perhaps the most popular sport fish in the region – I landed one of the biggest winter 'eyes ever while ice fishing on picture-postcard, white-pine-studded Lake Temagami. And get this: I wasn't even targeting the gorgeous fish. Instead, a buddy and I had driven up to the lake, rented a cozy heated ice fishing hut from a local tourist operator, and were jigging for lake trout.

Temagami and lake trout go together like champagne and caviar, but that is the thing when you're fishing in Northeastern Ontario. There is such an amazing variety of species that you never know what's going to wind up next on the end of your line.

So, imagine my surprise when I reached down to pull what I thought was a trophy lake trout through the hole in the ice and instead, spotted the gargantuan peepers on a double digit walleye. I'm not sure who was more surprised, the walleye or me.

Photo: Gord Pyzer.

And talking about fishy surprises: I have to let you in on one of the hottest happenings right now. It is the unbelievable smallmouth bass fishing that for years has flown under the radar of so many visiting anglers. 

Finally, the word is filtering out.

The crystal clear waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, from the mouth of the French River all the way around to Blind River and surrounding Manitoulin Island, offer some of the best smallmouth bass fishing on the continent. Honest truth, I have some bass fishing buddies who regularly catch and release smallmouth here exceeding seven pounds in weight.

Photo: Gord Pyzer.

Seven pounds! 

Most folks regard a four-pound smallmouth bass as the fish of a lifetime.  And Lake Nipissing, Lake Temagami and a host of waterbodies in the Timmins area offer bass fishing that is just as good.

Speaking about "good," it is a totally inadequate word to describe the muskie fishing you'll find in Georgian Bay, the French River, Lake Nipissing and Lake Nosbonsing. 

As a matter of fact, Ken O'Brien caught his 65-pound world record behemoth here, and many believe the record will soon be bested by an even bigger muskie from the very same waters.

So, you can see my dilemma.  And I haven't even touched on the phenomenal speckled trout, rainbow trout, aurora trout, steelhead, coho, chinook, black crappie, whitefish and yellow perch opportunities.

It is why, whenever I hear the words "Northeastern Ontario" mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is world class fishing.

About Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer is the fishing editor of Outdoor Canada magazine and field editor of In-Fisherman magazine. He is the co-host of the Real Fishing Radio Show and host of Fish Talk With The Doc.

Recommended Articles

Northern Lights in Northeastern Ontario

5 great spots in The Seven to find the Aurora Borealis.

Ontario's Secret Lagoon

Discover paradise just outside of Sudbury

Complete Guide to Moosonee & Moose Factory Island

12 essential experiences for visitors.

Spectres of the Past: A Ghost Town Field Trip

Follow this trail of abandoned communities on a road trip through the history of Northeastern Ontario

An Insider's Guide to Manitoulin Island

12 communities, sights, hikes and experiences that most first-time visitors miss!

A Guide to Mushroom Hunting

How, when and where to go, and what to look for

Best Things to Do in Kirkland Lake: The Town that Gold Built

Check out a self-guided gold mine tour, a northern chateau museum, and get some beach time!

Lake Nipissing Fishing Hot Spots

Nipissing is one massive lake with plenty of fishing opportunities to keep anglers exploring.

Fish for one of the World's Rarest Species of Trout

Found only in 12 remote Ontario lakes–and nowhere else in the world–the aurora trout is a special fish.

Observe the Galaxy Like Never Before

Take in the inky night sky, just outside of the city!

Sudbury's Social Scene

A Guide to Nightlife in the Nickel City

Stompin' Tom sang about it. The fur traders paddled through it. And the town's mayor made it famous.

Visit Voyageur Country and discover the magic for yourself.

How to Properly Hold and Handle Fish

Techniques & Tools

A Moosonee guide to fishing on the Moose River

A local fishing guide knows every nook and cranny of the upper Moose River

BIG Hikes: The Cup & Saucer's Reward for the Adventurous

Discover Manitoulin (and Ontario's) favourite hike.

A Culinary Tour of Temiskaming Shores

Ontario’s latest culinary hotspot isn’t Scarborough or Hamilton. It’s a tiny city on a lake in Northern Ontario. 

Foraging Summer's Sweetest Treats

From blueberries to hawberries, our berries are delicious and diverse!

The History of the Fire Tower

From World War II to Jack Kerouac to Temagami

Harry Lake - A Scenic Camping Destination for Any Season

Killarney Provincial Park Winter Weekend

An ideal snowy two-day adventure spent with friends or family.